Thursday, July 14, 2011

Man found holding severed leg after he was hit by a train in Oregon


When medical personnel arrived on site in Southeast Portland late Monday after a man was hit by a train, they found James Piles holding his severed leg, according to Portland police.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, a police spokesman, said the 23-year-old was conscious and holding his lower left leg which was severed below the knee. Simpson said he told police he had been smoking marijuana earlier in the day and didn't hear the Union Pacific train coming.

The train was traveling southbound from Portland to Eugene, according to Raquel Espinoza, a spokeswoman for Union Pacific. She said the conductor and engineer, who sit in the locomotive in front of the train, had no idea someone had been hit.

"It happened several cars back," she said. "We're not sure if he was trying to hop on the train or was on it already."

She said someone called 9-1-1, prompting a call to Union Pacific's dispatchers. The company stopped the train and discovered evidence that someone had been hit.

Piles was taken to OHSU Hospital where he was reported to be in fair condition today. It's not clear whether he was visiting the area or is a transient. Police have no local contact information for him.

He was hit before 11:30 p.m. on tracks east of Southeast Water Avenue and Stark Street.

Portland police and Union Pacific officials are investigating the incident. The trains carry recording devices, like black boxes on airplanes, which investigators will review.

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